Monday, November 05, 2007

The "Liberal" Conspiracy

Ah, those of us who have heard of this have been waiting eagerly for its release. "What?" I hear you cry, "what is this release? Is it a release of huge numbers of vicious and hungry leopards into the House of Commons at PMQs? is a release of a swift and fatal virus into the Chamber wherein our corrupt yet hapless MPs while away their shiftless hours?"

Alas, it is not: it is the launch of what Sunny Hundal modesty terms his "super-blog": Liberal Conspiracy.

Y'see, the Left-o-sphere has been feeling somewhat persecuted of late, not least by their own side—both by blogs and by the appalling behaviour and performance of the government which they elected time after time.

Admittedly, many of the more decent ones will have voted for NuLabour as the least worst option—just one of the many reasons that I would caution the Right against doing so with the Tories—but it doesn't alter the fact that the "liberal-Left" have been having a bit of a hard time of it.

Still, there are some impressive names on the Liberal Conspiracy roster: Chicken Yoghurt and Robert Sharp are quite simply two of the finest prose writers on the blogosphere, for all that I almost always disagree with him; Chris Dillow—the man of no fixed beliefs—has been churning out some excellent work on economics and managerialism for years; Garry Smith was once a regular stop before he became totally obsessed with Iraq; and I have worked with Unity—possessor of one of the blogosphere's finest analytical minds—on a number of issues, behind the scenes.

But, you see, I have a problem with this whole "liberal-Left" issue: to me, the terms are near incompatible. Many of us have long argued that the terms Left and Right are effectively meaningless, and that the actual fight is between those who are statist—believing in redistribution of wealth, state economic controls, heavy regulation of both business terms and personal habits—and those who are free-market libertarians—those who believe that markets, and minimal interference by the state in business and personal concerns, provide the answers to the problems that we face.

One of the reasons that the statists have been taking a bit of a beating is because we have a fundamentally statist government in the form of NuLabour. Not only have NuLabour demonstrably failed in all the important milestones that they set for themselves—health, education, social mobility—but they have made significant inroads into personal liberties too.

Thus the statist bloggers—or those who appear to be calling themselves the liberal Left—find themselves in something of a bind: not only do they find themselves fighting against an incumbent government who is naturally inclined their way, but that government is imposing many restrictions on civil liberties that these bloggers (rightly) disagree with.

Further, many of them have also found that those policies that they do agree with—which mainly consist of stealing more money off private citizens and pouring it into the public services and into measures designed to increase social mobility—have been employed by the government and simply haven't worked.

Thus, many of the liberal Left bloggers have found themselves—slightly embarrassingly, although probably more productively for all of us—aligned with Tories and libertarians over civil liberties issues.

And on the subject of public services and social mobility, they find that their backs are against the wall, for the money has been poured into those areas over the last decade and yet the services are barely better and social mobility is no different. This makes them easy targets for the libertarians—or classical liberals—who can point to the figures showing the failure of their chosen champions, and most of those decent statist bloggers are honest enough to know that a decade is more than long enough to have shown some improvement: bleating about needing more time simply won't wash any more.

In fact, those same bloggers know that they are guilty of keeping these people in power. It seems appropriate today that I should quote from V's speech.
Really, it's not good enough, is it? And it's no good blaming the drop in work standards upon the bad management either...

... though, to be sure, the management is very bad. In fact, let us not mince words... The management is terrible.

We've had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact.

But who elected them?

It was you! You who appointed these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you.

It is ironic that V For Vendetta, which was intended as a critique on the Thatcher government, should apply so well to NuLabour—the film made that very obvious.

And it is futile for statist bloggers to point out that the Tories are just as bad, or that NuLabour are only bad because they copied the Tories: that simply plays into the hands of the radical small-state libertarians (amongst whom I count myself and many other better bloggers) who point out that this is precisely why the state should run almost nothing at all and should have little or no power.

Every way that they turn, the liberal Left find themselves harried and spiked intellectually: not because their ideas are too impractical but because their ideas have already been implemented and have demonstrably failed. But they do have one big advantage over the libertarians: the general populace.

The general populace cares little for their civil liberties, at present. Further, the general populace can usually see no connection between their government-cossetted lives and the way in which this gives the state authority to interfere in every aspect of their lives—that the state owns us all is a theme I developed a few days ago. Further, the concept that the state might be working in the best interests of the state and not the populace is not an idea that has occurred to many of them just yet.

But this means that, in general, the liberal Left can only really argue for the status quo (albeit with the occasional piece of tinkering) which is hardly the most inspiring rallying cry. The libertarians, however, can fire up the anti-statist rhetoric and, whilst the vast majority of people haven't got it yet, it generally makes for far more interesting reading.

Further, despite the paranoid fantasies of those on the Left, there is no great, big right-wing conspiracy; we classical liberals aren't really ones for organising and corralling our supporters because it is precisely against our philosophy to do so—hence the trope that trying to get a libertarian party together would be like herding cats. Believe me, I've tried it (and that is before you take into account the fact that people have limited time and will use that time to push their personal blogs first).

So, am I worried about Liberal Conspiracy? No, for I don't believe that they have anything particularly original to say. And those that do will, I believe, continue to say those things on their blogs.

Will they have an impact on the media? Maybe, or at least that section of the media that is already sympathetic to them. Is this a problem? Only in that it will help to further entrench the status quo and this is not much of a problem: it was always going to take a massive force of will to mobilise people to look beyond their own comfortable, state-funded lives anyway. Liberal Conspiracy may raise the bar a tiny bit, but not in any significant way.

Because, fundamentally, the liberal Left still believe that the state can make all things right and they are, gradually, losing that argument. Indeed, I quoted V's speech above, but there is an earlier section which is also applicable to the people of this country, which explains why the liberal Left have dominated for so long.
You don't seem to want to face up to any real responsibility, or to be your own boss...

The fact is that this is precisely the attitude of the British populace today, and so they have been content to let the management run ever more of their lives. One day, it will have to stop and it will not be the liberal Left advancing the solutions.

And, in the meantime, since "right-wing loonies" are not welcome in the comments of this Liberal Conspiracy—like most conspiracy theorists, they far prefer to put their hands over their ears and sing than to hear any counter arguments—it will, by the look of it, provide a rich seam of earnest and contradictory articles to fisk and otherwise rip the piss out of.

Judging by some of the stuff that has already appeared, the Liberal Conspiracy looks to be like a particularly prolific Polly Toynbee, and you all know how much I love and respect her...

UPDATE: Timmy's slightly sceptical too.

25 comments:

Mike Power said...

That pesky populace eh?

If only politics didn't require popular support. But it, does which is why UKIP is little more than a joke.

Still, one day the scales will fall and then we will all march to a new dawn where....blah, blah, blah.

Dream on baby!

Devil's Kitchen said...

Yeah, Mike; that pesky populace. You know, the one that regularly votes for the BNP in greater numbers than for UKIP; that the populace are, in general, uninterested, bigoted and ignorant is not exactly a point of pride.

Further, I find some commentators (not necesarily just you) insistence on seeing everything that I say through the prism of UKIP slightly irritating: they didn't do so before I joined that party, so why do so afterwards?

If I totally compromised my principles and joined the Tories, would you respect me more?

DK

Budgie said...

Liberal Conspiracy, eh?

I had a peek and...

It's neither liberal, nor a conspiracy, nor anything other than a few tired ex Pol Pot and Lenin supporters.

Just call me Bismarck.

Homophobic said...

I can't believe you mentioned V for Vendetta in anything like a favourable sense. That film massages the most pernicious, intellectualy crippling fantasies, of our time:

A. The Terrorist attacks are inside jobs 'n' stuff, innit.

B. The conspiratorial government secretly hates
you, and viscerally persecutes Muslims and homosexuals.

Listen, V for Vendetta is a Catholic (Greek : Universalist) who believes in employing violence, not to destroy, but for higher ends (remember the scene where V tortures Emmy to make her strong?).

You know who else shares this view? George Bush. He also employs violence to create "freedom and democracy" in Iraq.

Other people who have used force to create a new improved society include:

A. Pol Pot
B. Lenin and the Bolsheviks

The disasterous Catholic (Universalist) ideology running rampant through the west is none other then the ideology espoused by "V".

V for Vendetta = Rock and Roll Messiah coming to save "the people".

Other people who think like this include the Rolling Stones fan and general rock star messiah TONY BLAIR. (Who was obviously a liar).

This is what people have to do to keep the Liberalism boat afloat having seen the destructive effects of it at home and abroad: blame a secret conspiracy. (Bush lied, War for Oil, Halliburton, 9/11 and 7/7 were inside jobs, if they weren't inside jobs foreign policy is to blame)

George Bush (to them) is not a militant human rights campaigner.. He's a Hitler. He has to be a liar. Of course he has to be Hitler, rather than question the validity of V for Vendetta Universalism.

George Bush: "It's idealistic to believe people long to be free. And nothing will change my belief. I come at it many different ways. Really not primarily from a political science perspective, frankly; it's more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom."

And V would agree with this.

mike power said...

*that the populace are, in general, uninterested, bigoted and ignorant is not exactly a point of pride.*

That's my point. You see no irony in using the word Libertarian while at the same time showing your complete and utter contempt for the population in general. As for the BNP it is as much a joke as UKIP and totally irrelevant to the UK political scene, as well you know.

If you joined the Tories would I be wrong to view your political comments (no, not everything you say) through the prism of conservative politics, surely not?

My main gripe about this post is it's mean spiritedness. You admit that LC has recruited some excellent bloggers and it is perfectly clear that many of them are as unhappy with the present government as you are yet you can't bring yourself to wish them well. Instead you dismiss them within hours of starting up as being no more than a 'prolific Polly Toynbee' providing material for you to 'rip the piss out of'.

I'm sorry old boy but you can do better than this.

poohbear said...

Just had a look at the LC blog and ill give it a month, tops! Like the left in general it promises much only to deliver...Nothing much realy! The same old boring statist crap,the same old watch words of,lets all live in perfect harmony,ebony & ivory Blah Blah Blah! If only the state had even more tax money and more power and more laws and more commisars Blah fucking Blah! How nice it would be to live in a solar powered mud hut eating free range grass and attend political education lessons twice a day! The commisars might even give us a shiny new donkey if we are good!
Cradle to grave (s)mothering whether you like it or not!

Trooper Thompson said...

Homophobic,

With a name like yours, you should have at least a little sympathy for knocking off James I.

I think you're missing something about V for Vendetta, by portraying it as a political manifesto for the real world, rather than a movie.

Poohbear,

"showing your complete and utter contempt for the population in general"

You're over-doing a bit, aren't you?

"it is perfectly clear that many of them are as unhappy with the present government as you are yet you can't bring yourself to wish them well"

I'm sure we all wish them well, as they scrabble around in the dark, unable to realise that this government is delivering the policies they demand and the problem is they don't work and necessarily undermine individual freedom.

Trooper Thompson said...

... of course, I may be jumping to conclusions.

poohbear said...

Trooper,

I never said I have "complete and utter contempt for the general population".
I only have 'complete and utter contempt' for socialism and the leftists in general.

mike power said...

If I say, Trooper Thompson, that you are "bigoted and ignorant" do you suspect that I might be just a teeny weeny bit contemptuous of you as well? Of course DK holds the majority in contempt and I'm sure he'd be happy to acknowledge that fact (unless I have been labouring under a complete misapprehension about the nature of this site).

You accuse ME of "overdoing it a bit". May I ask, are you actually a regular reader of this blog?!! Jeez!!

Your last sentence is almost incoherent so I will just ask another question. How many of the bloggers listed as contributors to LC have you actually read? It seems clear to me that you have no idea what their individual opinions are otherwise you wouldn't write such silly things.

"of course, I may be jumping to conclusions".

Listen up baby, there ain't no maybe about it!

As the LC site has only been live for a few hours and contains a grand total of three posts (by two contributors), mostly explaining what the site is about, I think we can assume that any comments about it's achievements or its potential are a tad premature.

Trooper Thompson said...

"You accuse ME of "overdoing it a bit". May I ask, are you actually a regular reader of this blog?!! Jeez!!"

Well, this is why I thought DK's rather mild comments did not imply complete and utter contempt.

DK can answer for himself anyway, but his opinion of the general population was given as something not to be proud of, which implies he cares to some extent.

I already conceded, before anyone else pointed it out, that I may be jumping to conclusions - so what are you whining about?

Trooper Thompson said...

Sorry Poohbear, I misread Mike Power's comment as yours.

poohbear said...

Dearest Trooper,

Your apology is accepted with alacrity(whatever that means)! I am trying understand to the drift of your posts with "homophobic" BUT as I appear to have the IQ of a 'stunned rabbit'at the moment, I cannot work out if you are left or right or Libertarian, could you enlighten us(me)?

Thanks Muchly,

Pooh(show me the honey)bear.

PS
I make mistaken posts all the time, some of them are right corkers! so dont feel bad!

Trooper Thompson said...

Poohbear,

I was just pointing out to homophobic that James I was rumoured to favour the company of young men (such as the Duke of Buckingham).

As for political affiliation, I'd call myself a libertarian. I don't buy into the left/right paradigm.

Blognor Regis said...

You see no irony in using the word Libertarian while at the same time showing your complete and utter contempt for the population in general.

Quite. DK's rather unpleasant description of his fellow men sounds like the words of one calling for firm and charismatic leadership rather. It's certainly out a libertarian's view.

Who let all this riff raff into the room? That one's smoking a joint! And that one's got spots! If I had my way, I'd have all of you shot!

poohbear said...

Dear Trooper,

Thanks, I lost the thread back there and couldnt find it, but have re-read your posts and understand them now(I think). You call yourself a libertarian? well good for you, me too! It looks like the puppet master is losing more and more of his captive audience every day? When will people realise that the NULAB/NUCON/LIBDEMS are the same puppets on the same show run by the same puppet masters?

PS
For the record, I voted Tory from 83 to 1997 and after that I have voted UKIP and intend to vote UKIP next time. Nigel Farrage is a decent and good man trying to do his best in the face of smears and lies by the 'big three'.

Trooper Thompson said...

"NULAB/NUCON/LIBDEMS are the same puppets on the same show run by the same puppet masters"

very true.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Mike,

I don't think that having contempt for the way in which people reach their decisions is incompatible with libertarianism as long as I allow them to make those decisions. We all make bad decisions for one reason or another.

However, it has been a frequent refrain here that many people do not really think properly about the decisions that they make and they should be (although, of course, I cannot force them!). Ultimately I have faith that people can and will make good decisions for themselves, otherwise how could I believe in small state libertarianism?

But, given my beliefs, Mike, why should I wish LC well? Fundamentally, the point of LC seems to be to help campaign -- by bolstering media presence and linking in to activists -- on behalf of a set of beliefs with which I fervently disagree.

As I pointed out, I get on with many of those bloggers well on a personal level (as much as we have had contact) but that doesn't mean that I have to wish that their effort to boost their political leverage goes well.

Blognor Regis,

No, my view is entirely libertarian: I recognise that people make decisions with which I disagree, but I won't stop them making those decisions. I fail to see any part of libertarian creed in which I have to like the people or their decisions.

Anyway, a core part of my personal belief is that, released from the stultifying state, people would actually think about what they are doing rather more: the state has encouraged people to be ignorant (if only through the appalling standards of schooling).

DK

mike power said...

Why should you wish them well?

Oh come on DK if Mr Eugenides can manage a few words of welcome I'm sure you can. Healthy debate needs someone to debate with otherwise it's not so much blogging as masturbation.

Maybe people are perfectly happy with the decisions they make and the methods they use to make them. It's YOU who is unhappy with them on both counts and wants them to change. I think it's called 'pissing in the wind' :)

Homophobic said...

My name is supposed to be "homophobic horse" (as it has an amusing ring to it) but my google account thing is all wrong and broken or something.

Yes V was "just a movie". That's a truism. It also features political ideas I have described as pernicious.

As for the homophobia concept in general.. How are any of you too know that "homophobia" doesn't exist? How are you to know that it is simply a lie? It is a gnostic concept, diagnostic to be precise. And a gnostic always seeks to invent a truth and then ring fence it off from inquiry so as to control people. "Homophobia", along with "Islamophobia", along with "Schizophrenia", are words that only take on meaning insofar that they are used by agents of the collective to:

A. Sack you on the spot
B. Black list you
C. Imprison you
D. Harrass you in the street

Drapetomania was a diagnosis used in the 19th century to label run away slaves as insane. It comes from "Drapetes" meaning "run away" and "mania" meaning excitement and insanity.

"Homophobia" is just as absurd. But you don't fucking care because you're all a bunch of fuck wits who have mistaken a symbolic system for reality.

People who have mistaken symbolism for reality would include Condoleeza Rice who said on a visit to Baghdad that "America had a long road to democracy as well". Grrreat. Only 200 years to go, but Condoleeza Rice lives in a fantasy world where words equal objective truth. (i.e. Constitution = Democracy = Good)

But of course language is social and words take on immediate meaning when used by many people.

Here's a pitch: I have invented a word called "Phobophobia" it means fear of fear. It should be used to counter anybody who produces a spurious psychiatric diagnosis such as "Homophobia".

If everybody were to use the word "Phobophobia" as a prelude to ruining someones life and having them imprisoned then "phobophobia" - some stupid word I just invented - would suddenly take on an awfully frightening meaning.

Trooper Thompson said...

Homophobia,

you've gotta watch that phobophobia. Without medication, it may turn into phobomania.

Trooper Thompson said...

"Oh come on DK if Mr Eugenides can manage a few words of welcome I'm sure you can. Healthy debate needs someone to debate with otherwise it's not so much blogging as masturbation."

Mike, why don't you check their comments policy? You'll find you're only allowed to comment if you want to join the mass hug/ego stroke. They haven't got the guts to test their ideas in the fire of free debate.

Roger Thornhill said...

In my view, if the majority are stupid and ignorant, it is the Statist/Sociofascist/Welfarist mantra that has made them so. They are truly boiled frogs.

However, I think 90%+ are reformable and, at a deep level want to be reformed but are not only buried but still hear the soil being heaped upon their living tombs.

Blognor Regis said...

released from the stultifying state, people would actually think about what they are doing rather more

Which is fine and I'm more than inclined to agree... But, you did come across as starting a bit for charismatic dictaorship at worst, misanthropic - to use a buzzword - at best.

jonz said...

If anyone wants to vent at Lib Con's staliniesque purges of dissenting comments come and vent your spleen

Liberal Conspiracy Watch